The 7 Stalloneyest Moments of Stallone's Film Career
No man can watch a Sylvester Stallone film and come away unchanged. For three decades, Sly combined adrenaline, bafflingly illogical plots and a complete lack of normal human emotion to somehow create something greater than the sum of its parts. Something ... magical.
Below are what we consider the seven "Stalloneyest" moments in film history. WARNING: reading the following might cause you to grab the very next person you see and throw them through a plate glass window.
Stallone Meets A Fan; Murders him, Then Desecrates The Body
Before the awful remake of Death Race, there was the pants-shittingly great, Death Race 2000. In the film, Sly plays Machine Gun Joe Viterbo, one of the various antagonists. In a movie based around a vehicular homicide game show, you'd be hard-pressed to find a true protagonist. As his name suggests, Joe has a passion for using depression-era machine guns.
This guy hosted the game show...
There are so many to choose from. When Joe arrives at the race, he stands in his driver seat bringing out twin tommy guns. Using a move that would later be emulated in the Pacino classic, Scarface, Viterbo addresses the crowd with, "You want Frankenstein? Hokay." He then opens fire on the crowd, which responds with resounding boos and hisses.
Hell of an entrance.
Surely this must be the Stalloneyest moment. And to you, we say nay. This is a movie that sees Stallone uttering zingers like, "You know Myra, some people might think you're cute. But me, I think you're one very large baked potato." And the unforgettable scene where, while strangling a woman, he utters this cryptic message, "How does it feel to know you're gonna spend the rest of your life in pain?" He then feels that he must clarify his intentions even further, "The rest of your life is about a minute and a half." But none of it holds a candle to the scene two minutes into this YouTube clip:
Stallone becomes inexplicably enraged when an angler tells him that he is his biggest fan. There are many surreal aspects to the scene: the goofy music that makes it seem like you're watching a vehicular homicide take place on the Benny Hill show, to the fact that Sly's victim manages to hang on to his fish until the gory end.
"These should come in handy later."
But Stallone's performance steals the show. The hurried, almost violent way he promises to murder the man and slams on his helmet suggests that there is no acting taking place: Stallone literally can't wait for his character to kill this man.
"I'm not totally sure why I have a boner right now."
Jack Carter Daydreams, Then Casually Murders Dr. Cox
Imagine, if you will, flying to Seattle for your brother's funeral and upon attending the funeral, you discover that your brother's death was no accident, but he was targeted and murdered by a Seattle-based mob. Harsh bud, right?
Like this, but with the Space Needle and flannel shirts.
But while this may sound far-fetched, it happened big time to Jack Carter (Stallone). And if there is one thing that Get Carter can teach us, it's that you just don't fuck with Jack Carter. Most normal people would take some time to mourn and allow law enforcement to track down the responsible parties. Most normal people aren't portrayed by Sylvester Stallone. Equipped with finely groomed facial hair and a complete lack of common sense, Carter hits the mean streets of Seattle. With all due respect to Shaft, Jack Carter is the man who would risk his life for his (dead) brother-man.
Only he's not asking if "You dig?"
Carter is bent on finding the truth by using the traditional action movie method of kill first and don't ask any questions at all. The movie rolls along like a semi sent straight from hell, bent on demonstrating that two wrongs don't make a right ... unless one of those wrongs is brutally murdering dozens of mobsters. In a film described by Roger Ebert as, "chock full o' corpses," narrowing down just one moment that encapsulates all that is Stallone is a heavy burden. But, like Jack Carter, we will let nothing stand in our way.
In a cruel joke, the Stalloneyest scene has been split in twain. Both clips stand on their own, but when viewed together, something magic happens. In the beginning of the scene Stallone wanders into, what appears to be, a very nice establishment.
By his gait, one would assume that he is literally drunk off bloodlust. He gets on the elevator, where he is confronted by Dr. Cox from Scrubs some other soon-to-be dead guy and an innocent old lady. While Cox rattles on about something, Stallone fantasizes about possible confrontations.
Just look at that asshole.
The real question is why, in his hypothetical imaginings, Carter ends up dying? Thankfully, the old woman's Stalloney sense begins tingling and she wisely exits the elevator at which point Carter springs his plan into action. His plan includes stabbing part of his hand into the sidekick's trachea, before clubbing the flamboyantly dressed Cox into submission ... with his fists. Stallone then exits the building looking relaxed as a man leaving a massage parlor ...
... and walks right into an ambush, making it clear that the mob knew that two men in an elevator would not be enough to slow down Jack Carter (and begging the question why they sent Dr. Cox in there in the first place). Stallone leads the bad guys in a roughly four-minute car chase during which his face communicates "nice Sunday drive" rather than "Holy shit-balls. They're trying to kill me!"
For Stallone, the Seattle mob is a laughable diversion, like those orange cones they set up on driving tests. But lest you think the man is incapable of registering emotions ...
Lando Gets Stabbed, Sly Really Lets The Bad Guy Have It (Verbally)...
Our next Stalloneyest moment comes courtesy of an underrated classic. Nighthawks tells the story of police cop partners Deke DeSilva (Stallone) and Matthew Fox (portrayed brilliantly by Billy Dee "Colt 45" Williams) and their attempts to foil a terrorist plot. Plus Stallone is rocking a beard that would appear to be (ahem) inspired by Serpico.
You'll never see 'em in the same room together. Just sayin'.
Besides the orgasm-inducing casting choices, Nighthawks was directed by none other than Bruce Malmouth. Malmouth is the visionary behind Steven Seagal's Hard to Kill and the Dolph Lundgren vehicle, Pentathlon. If those credits don't ring any bells, maybe you'll recognize him by his breakout role as "Ring Announcer" in the Karate Kid. Yes, that Bruce Malmouth.
With Billy Dee coming off of his most famous role as Lando Calrissian, Stallone really had to work to keep the focus on himself while still maintaining his trademark apathetic blood lust. But Sly doesn't disappoint, bringing a new level of mediocrity to the 12 minute chase scene. The first half is fairly tame, but the second half is where Stallone really delivers.
We find Lando and Stallone, sporting prescription aviators while chasing a perp through the city's seedy underground. Wait a second. That perp looks like ... Rutger Hauer?! Best. Cast. Ever! The "Hauerglass" then leads Rambo and Lando on an epic chase filled with stormtrooper-esque gunfire and hostage-taking. It's shaping up to be a fairly tame chase scene as far as action movies go when suddenly, at 4:50, the action turns tragic.
When Billy Dee is slashed by a cleverly hidden Hauer, Stallone comes onto the scene and panics. As Lando apparently bleeds out, Stallone administers first aid by applying pressure to the wound and then violently shaking Lando's head like a Yoo-Hoo. Ignoring his partner's last request to "Get him," Sly opts instead to scream obscenities in Hauer's general direction. While any other actor may have played the part with emotional subtlety, Stallone proves his worth by replacing emotion with volume.
And ridiculous MC Hammer glasses.
Stallone Solves A Hostage Situation (With Violence and a Toothpick)
The 1986 classic, Cobra is the quintessential renegade cop movie. This movie has it all. A terrorist organization? Check. A strictly by-the-book police captain? Check. A submachine gun with laser sight? Check fucking plus. This movie is brimming with so much testosterone-fueled badassery, that your balls will twitch at the sight of the movie poster.
His pants fit fine, but you tell us a better way to carry your grenades.
Stallone's performance as Marion Cobretti is filled with blind overconfidence in himself. Some have speculated that this zeal is just to compensate for the character's sexual ambiguity. At one point in the film, Ingrid (the female lead) asks Stallone, "Do you ever get involved?" To which Sly responds with considerable bewilderment, "With a woman?"
To be fair, this is Ingrid ...
Despite being reprimanded countless times by his superiors, Cobretti just gets more and more violent and reckless as the movie goes on. One of the finer aspects of the Cobretti character is his ability to deliver too-good-to-be-spontaneous zingers in highly inappropriate situations. This obviously rehearsed skill comes in handy on numerous occasions as Marion Cobretti wipes out members of the "New World" while making his way through a plot with so many twists that it could easily be a blood and bullet-filled crazy straw.
Without question, the supermarket hostage scene has to be the Stalloneyest moment in Cobra. Sly walks right into an extremely volatile situation, complete with bomb-wielding madman. In his efforts to diffuse the situation, he dodges shotgun fire, walks down the foggiest freezer aisle in movie history, takes a swig of (room temperature) Coors and taunts the homicidal terrorist over the intercom system.
"This seems like an appropriate thing to do right now."
Stallone's mood seems to oscillate between cool customer and heavily sedated. Eventually coming face to face with the criminal, Stallone puts his gun away, apparently deciding it's not a manly enough way to kill someone, and takes out his pocket knife. After some negotiations ("negotiations" in this case meaning "backhanded insults"), Stallone throws the knife and buries it in the criminal's chest. For good measure he empties the clip on the incapacitated man, then strikes a pose in a conveniently backlit doorway. During the course of the entire scene, Stallone only removes the toothpick from his mouth once, to take a swig of some warm Coors.
Sly Shows Off His "Demolitioning" Skills
It should be obvious by now that Stallone can really play the renegade cop role to stone-faced perfection. But by 1993, audiences were bored with seeing the same hard-nosed law enforcing character from Sly. Thus, Demolition Man was born. Yes, Stallone stars as a rebellious cop who plays by his own rules, but this time in the future ... with Wesley Snipes.
In the future, the letter E will look retarded.
Demolition Man tells the story of a beret-wearing cop and a madman who are frozen and then thawed out years later to take the "non" out of the non-violent future city of San Angeles. Though the city appears to be a utopian society that has long-since abandoned its seedy past, there are still a peculiar amount of guns and ammunition that are readily available. And Stallone and Snipes utilize damn-near every single bullet in the future. Also, Snipes kind of looks like Grace Jones.
Maybe a touch less terrifying.
One might be tempted to use words and phrases like fish out of water, ex cop, enemy, bare butt, and psychopath to describe this film. After all, those are the keywords that IMDb uses, but no one word can encapsulate the final climactic battle between John Spartan (Stallone) and Simon Phoenix (Snipes).
The futuristic cryogenics lab utilizes a giant crane game for some reason. Sly sneaks in, completely oblivious to the arcade-like torture device dangling just overhead. Rocky and Blade have a full-fledged showdown in the lab, and Stallone actually dives through the air whilst firing duel pistols. After gaining the upper hand, Phoenix in a truly Bond-villainesque move, refuses to kill Sly when he has the chance, opting instead to demean him with vaguely racist put-downs ("I'll fry your ass like a chicken!").
Stallone repays this (confusing) hate speech by flexing his way out of the crane and, upholding the duties of his badge, brings Snipes to justice ... Stallone style. And by that we mean he kicks Wesley Snipes's motherfucking head off his shoulders.
Also, Snipes is frozen.
Stallone Dominates the Seedy Underground ... Arm Wrestling Circuit?
Never before, in the history of cinema, has a movie's title so accurately described the plot.
Or the poster.
Based on the poster, you might think that the movie is about a gigantic, somewhat annoyed and extremely well-oiled Stallone patrolling the country with his eagle sidekick, crushing cars and causing chaos wherever he goes. While that movie would be amazing and undoubtedly destroy box office records, this is not that film.
He is well lubricated, but Stallone portrays a down-on-his-luck truck driver who, following the death of his wife, sets about trying to reconcile with his estranged son. As you might expect, the kid isn't pumped about having a deadbeat truck driver for a dad. That is, until he finds out that Stallone is one fan-fucking-tastic arm wrestler. Somehow, through winning an arm wrestling tournament, Stallone wins both the respect from and custody of his son.
... and this sweet ass trophy.
This clip really displays several elements of Stalloneyness. First we are treated to astounding violence when Lincoln Hawk (Sly) pushes a man through some very nice French doors, at the very least severely injuring his victim. Then we see a series of overconfident, and overweight antagonists. Inexplicably, one man uses a strange analogy ("I'm going through you like gas through a funnel") and drinks a quart of motor oil which we assume could only hurt his chances.
Slightly racist, totally delicious!
Then to the roar of hundreds of bicep hungry fans, Stallone's bottom lip finds depths previously thought unreachable by science as he beats two opponents and advances to the finals. It should be noted that Stallone only entered the tournament to show what a good father he could be, but while it's going on, his unsupervised child travels the streets of Las Vegas without him. Hey, that's life, kid. When your dad is Stallone, anyway.
Stallone's son is named Michael "Mike" Hawk, which, when spoken aloud (especially in the flubbering lips of Sly) might sound, to some immature Internet comedians, a lot like "my cock."
John Rambo, the whole damn thing
John Rambo is the modern adaptation of William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing [Citation Needed].
"...and removed thou head with a machete."
Stallone's most beloved role, apart from Rocky Balboa, is the clearly unstable Vietnam veteran, John J. Rambo. Until 2008, the Rambo series was considered, by many, to be the greatest trilogy in cinema history. When John Rambo hit the screen in 2008, it became the best quadrilogy.
Although in his 60s, Stallone pulled triple duty as the film's director, writer and of course star. Sly really brought everything he had to the role: a chemically enhanced muscle-bound body, a face that resembled one of the melted Nazis from Raiders of the Lost Ark and a passionless, exuberant bloodlust.
Stallone with and without makeup.
The thing about John Rambo, a.k.a. Rambo IV is that there is no clear line between Sly's finest moments. The whole fucking movie is just one 90-minute long Stalloney moment. This video shows just a fraction of the glorious, PTS-inspired violence that made Rambo an instant classic. Be warned, the clip is NSFW-ish, unless you are in the Burmese extermination business.
So what's been going on with John Rambo for the past 20 or so years? Well he's moved into the deep jungle to pursue his apparent dream of being a blacksmith who fishes with a bow and arrow. During the video, we see that Rambo is really a humanitarian. He's like a trigger happy Mother Teresa. Huge explosions, canings, hostage takings and an emotional prayer scene. All of this happens before Rambo comes out of retirement. At the 2:06 mark, we see Rambo karate chop a man's head off. And that's nothing compared to the headsplosions and trachea related violence that is still to come. And that's just the freaking trailer.
One of these men is about to lose a wind pipe.
Among Stallone's eight or so lines is his justification for the hour or so of killing he's just finished. "When you're pushed, killing is as easy as breathing." What the fuck? Is that true? Are we all just one shove away from inhaling blood and exhaling guts? Well if we are just two steps from turning into Rambo, push away.
Images courtesy of one man Photoshop powerhouse Randall S. Maynard.
And to see more Stalloney moments, check out 8 Humiliating Japanese Ads Starring Oscar Nominees. Or check out how Stallone's Demolition Man co-star can help you out in your day to day life, in The Wisdom of Wesley Snipes: 7 Quotes to Live By.